Shauna Barnett has lived in our Lawrence/Orton community in Scarborough for the past four years. She has also been a member of the community's local design team since 2015. The team met regularly in 2017 to offer ideas and suggestions on what repairs and programs are needed in the community, where Toronto Community Housing is using provincial energy program funding and City funding to deliver significant improvements.
Local design team members worked with architects, engineers and Toronto Community Housing team members to develop options based on the community's needs and budget.
Shauna was eager to join the local design team. "I saw it as an opportunity to empower and enrich my community," she said. "I wanted to lend my voice and be a part of all the wonderful changes taking place here."
Shauna, who has a background in urban planning and social service, attended the team's monthly meetings to share her ideas on how capital funds should be allocated.
Based on feedback from tenants, we started extensive capital renewal work in 2017 in the community. Improvements to the high-rise tower included window replacement, exterior rehabilitation, balcony restoration, guard rail replacement, a complete mechanical systems retrofit and bathroom fixture and lighting upgrades. Together, these measures will help achieve significant energy savings and greenhouse gas reductions.
New kitchens and washrooms are also being installed in the community's townhomes using funding from Toronto Community Housing's State of Good Repair program. Construction of a City-funded childcare facility, a new splash pad and extensive courtyard improvements will begin in 2018.
Caption: a mural in Lawrence-Orton
But the program goes beyond the bricks and mortar to provide supports and services to the community. It has helped to fund several community events, a local community mural, plus a brand new recreation room and computer lab where tenants can take part in weekly workshops and tutoring sessions. The program has also created employment opportunities for local tenants, including for Shauna, who joined the Toronto Community Housing team in early 2018 as a Senior Program Leader.
"It's an opportunity to bring a tenant's voice and perspective to Toronto Community Housing and its approach to community engagement," Shauna said.
Shauna can see the positive benefits that capital renewal has brought to Lawrence/Orton.
"People are proud and happy that this program is happening in our community," she said. "I want people to feel proud of this community, to empower them to make a change. My dream is for people to stand up and say 'Hey, I'm from Lawrence/Orton and I'm proud! Look at us, look at what we have in our community!'"
Read more stories like Shauna`s by downloading our 2017 Annual Report.